Taking up the challenge from UGA’s Karen Miller Russell that “PR bloggers would write about topic x,” I submit my guide to Office Politics 101
1. Read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. TWICE.
2. Never annoy the assistants in the office. They can make your life unbearable.
3. Identify the five essential office characters:
- Knows Where the Bodies are Buried
- Boss’ Right Hand
- The Office Klinger (aka scrounger, thief, fixer)
- He Who Knows Everything (aka corporate memory)
- Everybody’s Social Butterfly
4. Acronyms are not your friend. Not when you don’t understand them, and not when you throw them around trying to look intelligent.
5. Read up on learning styles. The way a person collects, interprets and processes information affects how they behave in a conversation with you, how they interact with others in meetings, and how quickly and violently they will try to shoot down and bury your cool new idea.
6. Figure out the conversation nodes in the office. Where do people hang out and exchange information? The office kitchen? Starbucks down the street? Twenty years ago, your best bet of learning the latest corporate rumour was by hanging out with the senior executives as they had a smoke on the sidewalk.\
7. You have not explained your idea well enough. Whether you’re twenty or forty, you’re the new person in the office. You need to make reference to the past ideas, experiments, and failures of your new colleagues if you expect them to engage and understand what you’re trying to sell.
8. Always dress for the job you would like to have, not the job you have now. In some offices, that means kicks and jeans. Personally, I’ve just laid out a lot of money on suits.
9. Manage your online social networks and your offline social networks discretely. Facebook and other social networks have a place in the office, in my opinion. And I’m not upset if you take some time to organize your weekend while sitting at your desk. But I don’t need to know the details of your personal life – either by you speaking to loudly in the office, or by posting inappropriate pictures. (Hey. If the first thing you did at work was “friend” your new boss, then don’t complain when I notice the pictures.)
10. Share credit more than blame. Nothing says you’re a high performer more than being able to deliver high quality work – and convince others to help you do it. If you spend all your time complaining about how others are keeping you from doing well – then you’re the problem.
11. Speak to people. Email and IM can only get you so far.
[tags] office politics, office conflict, new job [/tags]